The Instigator
Charlemagne
Pro (for)
Winning
13 Points
The Contender
BrandonSiler2044
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Should the US change its policy towards Israel and Palestine?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/17/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,839 times Debate No: 18836
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (5)
Votes (4)

 

Charlemagne

Pro

Hey guys, this is my first debate on the site, although I participate in both public forum and lincoln douglas in real life.

So, my argument;

American policy in the Middle East has been guided by politics, not principles. On the one hand, presidents have responded to the pressure from Jewish voters and lobby groups (such as the influential America-Israel Public Affairs Committee – AIPAC) to support Israel. On the other hand, policy towards Arab states has been shaped largely by economic needs: The US has been friendly to countries with large oil reserves, e.g. Saudi Arabia, but has ignored poorer Arabs such as the Palestinians.

The US has claimed that it supports Israel because it is the only democracy in the region – but such support for democracy has not been a firmly held principle and has not been acted upon in other parts of the world. The US knowingly supports corrupt and unjust authoritarian regimes in Arab countries when their oil policies favour America. This makes the United States appear hypocritical to the Arab world, especially as it refuses to negotiate with Hamas after it won the last Palestinian Authority elections. Such double-standards doom American attempts to promote wider democratic reform in the region.

US policy in the Middle East has been consistently on the side of Israel. The Bush administration's tilt toward Israel was evident as soon as it came to office. George W Bush refused to meet Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat because he viewed him as an obstacle to peace. America also continued to give the Jewish state lavish financial support, despite the recycling of much of this money into building in the occupied territories that makes a final peaceful solution to the conflict much harder to achieve. President Obama's greater willingness to stand up to Israel should be welcomed, but his administration should now go much further in pressuring the Israeli government to make meaningful concessions to the Palestinians in order to achieve a just and lasting settlement.

The US has been inconsistent in the application of its moral principles. It has routinely condemned Palestinians and other Arabs for terrorist actions, but it granted immediate recognition to the state of Israel, which engaged in a terrorist campaign against the British. It is time for the US to recognise that Hamas has a clear mandate from the Palestinian people, based upon genuine grievances, and to push Israel to negotiate with it. The US should also stop blocking United Nations' resolutions critical of Israel, as it did over the 2008 attacks on Lebanon and Gaza.

The United States' support for Israel damages its wider strategic interests. Recently senior American military figures have testified that US support for Israel contributes to the war on terror by alienating potential Muslim allies and radicalizing young men outraged by the suffering of the Palestinian people. It would be easier to create a stable, pro-Western Iraq, to win the war in Afghanistan, and to isolate the regime in Iran,if the United States was seen to be more even-handed in its approach to the Israel-Palestine conflict.
BrandonSiler2044

Con

SO do you support its policy or not? I cant really see what your personal belief is....
Debate Round No. 1
Charlemagne

Pro

I will give you the next round to respond to my opening argument. Way to break format. BTW, you could have posted the questions in the comments page.
BrandonSiler2044

Con

I agree for change as well... I thought you were against it. So I guess we have nothing to debate over. I am sorry
Debate Round No. 2
Charlemagne

Pro

Did you bother to read my argument BEFORE posting?
BrandonSiler2044

Con

I read your facts but couldn't clearly tell what your personal position was.
Debate Round No. 3
Charlemagne

Pro

That's kind of sad. But I won't judge.
BrandonSiler2044

Con

Well i'll just tell you my position.

We cant afford to keep protecting Israel. We need to protect our borders instead of Isreali borders. Yes I do believe we should change our policy towards them.
Debate Round No. 4
Charlemagne

Pro

Israel's economic aid changed from the Commodity Import Program (CIP), which provides funds to foreign nations for the purchase of U.S. commodities, to a direct cash transfer in 1979. In return, Israel provided the Agency for International Development with assurances that the dollar level of Israel's non-defense imports from the U.S. would exceed the level of economic assistance granted Israel in any given year. Thus, Israel guaranteed that U.S. suppliers would not be disadvantaged by the termination of Israel's CIP Program.

Starting with fiscal year 1987, Israel annually received $1.2 billion in all grant economic aid and $1.8 billion in all grant military assistance. In 1998, Israel offered to voluntarily reduce its dependence on U.S. economic aid. According to an agreement reached with the Clinton Administration and Congress, the $1.2 billion economic aid package will be reduced by $120 million each year so that it will be phased out in ten years. Half of the annual savings in economic assistance each year ($60 million) will be added to Israel's military aid package in recognition of its increased security needs. In 2005, Israel received $360 million in economic aid and $2.22 billion in military aid. In 2006, economic aid is scheduled to be reduced to $240 million and military aid will increase to $2.28 billion.

For several years, most of Israel's economic aid went to pay off old debts. In 1984, foreign aid legislation included the Cranston Amendment (named after its Senate sponsor), which said the U.S. would provide Israel with economic assistance "not less than" the amount Israel owes the United States in annual debt service payments. The Cranston Amendment was left out of the FY1999 and subsequent appropriations bills. At that time Israel received $1.2 billion in ESF and owed only $328 million in debt service so the amendment was no longer needed.

In 1998, Israel was designated as a "major non-NATO ally," which allows it to receive outdated military equipment the U.S. military wishes to sell or give away.

Roughly 26 percent of what Israel receives in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) can be spent in Israel for military procurement. From FY1988 to FY 1990, Israel was allowed to use $400 million in Israel. From FY1991 to FY1998, the amount was increased to $475 million. As U.S. military aid to Israel increased, according to the agreement to cut economic aid, the amout set aside for defense purchases in Israel has increased (but the percentage has remained roughly the same). In 2009, the figure was $671 million. The remaining 74 percent of FMF was spent in the United States to generate profits and jobs. More than 1,000 companies in 47 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have signed contracts worth billions of dollars through this program.

At the end of 1998, Israel requested an additional $1.2 billion in aid to fund moving troops and military installations out of the occupied territories as called for in the October 23, 1998, Wye agreement. Israel received $600 million of this in military aid in FY1999 and $300 million in each fiscal year 2000 and 2001 (see Wye funding table).

In February 2003, for the first time, Congress voted to cut aid to Israel against the wishes of the pro-Israel lobby and the government of Israel. The 0.65 percent deduction was not aimed at Israel; however, it was an across the board cut of all foreign aid programs for fiscal year 2003. The lobby and government also suffered a defeat when Congress deleted an administration request for an extra $200 million to help Israel fight terrorism. Even while cutting aid to Israel (which still was budgeted at $2.1 billion for military aid and $600 million for economic assistance), Congress included a number of provisions in the aid bill viewed as favorable to Israel, including a provision that bars federal assistance to a future Palestinian state until the current Palestinian leadership is replaced, and that state demonstrates a commitment to peaceful coexistence with Israel, and takes measures to combat terrorism.

The setbacks were also temporary as the Administration approved a supplementary aid request in 2003 that included $1 billion in FMF and $9 billion in loan guarantees to aid Israel's economic recovery and compensate for the cost of military preparations associated with the war in Iraq. One quarter of the FMF is a cash grant and three quarters will be spent in the United States. The loan guarantees are spread over three years and must be spent within Israel's pre-June 1967 borders. Each year, an amount equal to the funds Israel spends on settlements in the territories will be deducted from the loan amount, along with all fees and subsidies.

Altogether, since 1949, Israel has received more than $106 billion in assistance. This includes the four special allocations, the $10 billion in loan guarantees (spread over five years) approved in 1992, the $9 billion in guarantees offered in 2003, and a variety of other smaller assistance-related accounts, such as refugee resettlement (nearly $1.6 billion overall since 1973), the American Schools and Hospitals Abroad Program (ASHA), which supports schools, libraries and medical centers that demonstrate American ideas and practices (($144 million), and cooperative development programs (a total of $186 million since 1981).

The total does not include funds for joint military projects like the Arrow missile (for which Israel has received more than $1 billion in grants since 1986), which are provided through the Defense budget. President Bush requested $60 million for the Arrow for FY2003 and $136 million in FY2004. The United States also has provided $53 million for the Boost Phase Intercept program and $139 million for the Tactical High Energy Laser program under development in Israel to complement the Arrow.

Though the totals are impressive, the value of assistance to Israel has been eroded by inflation. While aid levels remained constant in total dollars from 1987 until 1999, the real value steadily declined. On the other side of the coin, Israel does receive aid on more favorable terms than other nations. For example, all economic aid is given directly to the Israeli government rather than allocated under a specific program. Also, starting in 1982, Israel began to receive all its economic aid in a lump sum early in the fiscal year instead of in quarterly installments as is done for other countries. Israel also receives offsets on FMS purchases (U.S. contractors agree to offset some of the cost of military equipment by buying components or materials from Israel).

Still think so?
BrandonSiler2044

Con

BrandonSiler2044 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Charlemagne 5 years ago
Charlemagne
Augh. Then he forfeits. I was hoping for SOME argument. I even provided both sides!
Posted by Charlemagne 5 years ago
Charlemagne
You can post your argument in the comments, if you want.
Posted by Charlemagne 5 years ago
Charlemagne
Dude who is competing with me, I'm pro. I support a change.
Posted by googlemabob 5 years ago
googlemabob
I agree with you too strongly to take the debate XD
Posted by Nur-Ab-Sal 5 years ago
Nur-Ab-Sal
I disagree with you but I don't want to take the debate. Interesting topic to discuss, though.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by rakovsky 3 years ago
rakovsky
CharlemagneBrandonSiler2044Tied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Sorry that Pro didn't have a debate that was more interesting for her/him.
Vote Placed by bsh1 3 years ago
bsh1
CharlemagneBrandonSiler2044Tied
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by THEBOMB 5 years ago
THEBOMB
CharlemagneBrandonSiler2044Tied
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: where was Cons argument?
Vote Placed by cameronl35 5 years ago
cameronl35
CharlemagneBrandonSiler2044Tied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: No argument from Con and he disregards format